On a Wednesday at Riviera C.C., Scott Stallings thought his season had been defined.
"We were playing in the pro-am (at the Northern Trust Open) and I hit it the left rough on 11," Stallings said Tuesday on "Morning Drive." "I went to lay up and I went down to my knee. My caddie grabbed the bag and we walked to the clubhouse and I was done for about a month."
Stallings redefined his year on Sunday in Mississippi when he won the True South Classic by two shots, earning his second PGA Tour victory in as many seasons.
"Obviously to win any time on the PGA Tour is a blessing, but once is a dream come true and anything after that is a bonus," he said. "With the year that I've had, being injured and everything that's gone on with my family and things like that, it was kind of a shining moment to get through all that and come out the other side."
As it turned out, Stallings tore cartilage in five ribs in January. Ultimately, he could rest or play. He played, albeit poorly, with an eye toward the Masters.
Having earned an invitation to Augusta National because of his playoff win at Greenbrier last year, Stallings didn't want to waste his opportunity.
"I played the Masters on pure pain meds," he said.
Stallings made the cut, finishing T-27 in one of his better efforts of the year until last week. He suffered for over a month afterward, however, avoiding medication and playing through the pain. The turning point came at Memorial, when he got to play with Tiger Woods in the third round.
The Tennessee resident had no choice, however, but to play his way back to health. The PGA Tour advised Stallings any medical exemption would not give him back time lost playing with his injury. It paid off in the end.
"Well, what else was I going to do?" he said. "So I figured I'd go play and try to play through it. At the end of the day, it probably wasn't the smartest thing I've ever done."